Saturday, February 03, 2018

Keep It Short #5 My Victorian Year #5

This week I'll be sharing my thoughts on two fairy tales from Andrew Lang's Blue Fairy Book (1887). This week I'll also be counting this for my Victorian Year post.

The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood

First sentence: There were formerly a king and a queen, who were so sorry that they had no children; so sorry that it cannot be expressed.
 
Premise/plot: A forgotten fairy gets her revenge on a young princess. And her rescuer? Well, he's got family issues of his own.
 
My thoughts: I enjoy a good fairy tale. And this one is that--good. The first half felt mostly familiar to me, like I remembered it. The other half, not so much. The fault is mine for not reading fairy tales very often.
 
What struck me this time: 
  • The fairy wasn't the most villainous character in the story. That would be the mother-in-law.
  • The fairy didn't hang around to make sure that the princess would prick her finger. She uttered her curse, and exited the story.
  • It was an old lady, a "good old woman, not knowing..." who had a spindle. 
  • I wasn't expecting a dwarf--let alone a dwarf with "boots of seven leagues..."
  • It was the good fairy that had dragons--they were pulling her chariot.
  • I LOVED the quote, "Fairies are not long in doing their business."
  • The fairy "froze" all the servants so that someone would be there to take care of the princess when she woke up. The king and queen were not frozen. I suppose business went on in the kingdom in some way or another--until the kingdom disappeared from importance and memory.
  • The rescuer-prince was a stranger with issues of his own.
  • He did NOT take the princess home to meet his family. He kept her secret. 
  • Four or five years after this "rescue," he introduces her to the kingdom as his queen, and introduces her to his mother....
Cinderella
 
First sentence: Once there was a gentleman who married, for his second wife, the proudest and most haughty woman that was ever seen.
 
Now this is a story that seems a "tale as old as time..."
 
I've read plenty of variations of this one through my life, but it's been a while since I read this one. I wasn't expecting, for example, TWO balls. I like that in a way. If this fairy tale makes any sense at all--in terms of practicality and realism--it helps that they get acquainted with each other for more than ten minutes in a ballroom and/or ballroom and garden. That being said, I LOVE the musical with "Ten Minutes Ago" and "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?" 
 
I also wasn't expecting Cinderella to be THAT good and merciful and kind. "Cinderella, who was no less good than beautiful, gave her two sisters lodgings in the palace, and that very same day matched them with two great lords of the Court." It's one thing to forgive them enough not to do them any harm--banish them from the kingdom, strip them of their wealth or status, etc. It's another to do them active good. 
 
© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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